Since April 2012, 108 cases of a new virus have been reported in humans, resulting in 50 deaths. Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) is in the same family as Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and the common cold (coronaviruses), but is more closely related to viruses found in bats. The potential emergence of a new virus for which there is no treatment or vaccine is cause for concern. Still, it is far from certain that Mers will result in a pandemic.My problem with the piece is its blandness. It might serve as a short introduction to MERS for someone who's barely heard of it, and no doubt many of its readers fall into that category.
But it adds little or nothing that would give newcomers a sense of the curious aspects of MERS: the continuing failure to find the source, the reticence of the Saudis to give more than the bare minimum of details.
To be fair, he does close the article by saying that "open communication is essential," etc. But that's true of any disease. The lack of transparency in the Saudi cases is a real problem, and the article could have helped put more pressure on the Saudis to adopt a better policy.
So I hesitated to post it, and I do so now only to present it as an example of indifferent science writing.